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Bill Mitchell
Bill Mitchell

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I worked remotely as a developer for 3+ years, Ask Me Anything!

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Matteo Nunziati

1 year mixed remote+office. How do you cope with being alone all the time with no human being sharing a break or a joke with you? This is the worst thing of remoting for me.

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Paulo Renato

How do you cope with being alone all the time with no human being sharing a break or a joke with you?

I was helping him here. I was in the office, and he teased each other all the time via Slack.

He even managed to prank me remotely, can you believe this?

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Bill Mitchell

I agree, I think that may be the worst thing about it and it's really tough. Co-workers would go for a night out or have an event in the office and I'd miss out on that.

You also miss a lot of the casual conversation that goes on in the office and feel out of the loop. You will always be out of the loop somewhat if you work remotely 100%.

The way I coped with it is that I considered those negatives to be less than the positives that remote working brought me.

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Matteo Nunziati • Edited on

In my case there are 2 things that let me cope with it:
1- incedibly my remote employer pays me more than the onsite employers (I'm a freelancer and I have a number of companies I work for)
2- I set stints of 40-45 min than I "pause" the job doing some house keeping, freeing me from having to do it in the WE.

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Paulo Renato

You also miss a lot of the casual conversation that goes on in the office and feel out of the loop.

You should tell that you had spies at work ;)

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Bill Mitchell

Yes having you as a co-worker in the office and someone I could talk with was great!

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Bill Mitchell

Well I've since move on from that job and I do work in an office now but I also work from home so I have the best of both worlds.

The transition was something I was a bit worried with how it would go but in the end it was very painless.

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Bill Mitchell

I worked for one company. I stayed on the same team in the same role but as time went on I became more senior and helped mentor the new people on the team.

Mostly one technology (LAMP stack development) but as time went on there were tons of opportunities to learn new things like AWS.

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George Roros

For a fairly new developer (It's been about a year since I graduated college).

If you had to start over again, what are the first steps you would take towards finding a full remote job?

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Bill Mitchell

Great question.

The way I did it was find a non-remote job, work there and build up trust and then ask to go remote.

I see that same path used by a lot of devs who go remote and I think it may be one of the easier ways to do it.

If you don't want to go that route I would scour job boards and make a list of companies that offer remote positions and just start applying to them. You will eventually succeed!

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Chris Achard

What are the top three problems you faced as a remote worker? Do you think other companies have figured out solutions to those problems, or do you think they're common across most remote workers?

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Bill Mitchell

Good question! Not in any particular order:

1 - For me, I was one of only a few of remote workers. Most others were in the office. So feeling "out of the loop" was one negative point of being 100% remote. I found having several close co-workers I could casually chat with throughout the day helped to hear what was going on. But if you are remote and most others are in the office I think you have to come to terms with the fact you will always be slightly out of the loop.

2 - Missing out on social outings or in office events. Unless you are close enough to visit the office and take part in these, you will feel left out (unless you dislike doing this kind of stuff anyway).

3 - When you need to ask someone a question and you send them a message and do not get a reply. You don't know if they are busy, away from their desk, out to lunch. So sometimes you feel a bit helpless in that way. Do you message them again to nudge them? Do you wait and see when they come back.

For these three problems I'm not sure there are any good solutions. I feel there will always be these types of negatives as a remote worker but there are also great positives.

I'd say these are very common with remote workers.

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Chris Achard

Thanks for the answers; yeah - those all sound like they would be pretty common among remote workers. Thanks!

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Mirza

How do you synchronize your work timings with rest of the team?

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Bill Mitchell

Things I did:

  • Daily meetings shortly after I started to get caught up.
  • Send email/messages at the end of my day with a summary of what I accomplished, remaining work, questions.

Doing each of these and ensuring you do them very well were key. I believe you need to have strong communication skills to be an effective remote worker.

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Julian Christian Anderson

Do you think that remote working is better than working in the office?
And what problems do remote working solve in tech industry?

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Bill Mitchell

I'm not sure if one is better than the other. Personally I like doing both and if you are able to have a job where you can work remotely AND work in the office then you have best of both worlds.

If you are willing to hire remote workers you solve the problem of only being able to obtain from a local talent pool. That's one problem it solves :)

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Ben Halpern

What can companies do better to foster good remote culture?

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Bill Mitchell

My opinion is if you have a company and want to support remote workers you have to go above and beyond with communication to help inform them of what is going on since there are bound to be pieces of information remote workers will miss if not in the office.

I think remote workers also should take some of that responsibility and perhaps be extra "chatty" with messages to their teammates just to let people know that they are around.

Investment in audio/video equipment if you are having regular online meetings is a must. Having excellent audio/video quality will definitely help.

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Almenon

I'm also a remote worker. Do you have any tips for me? Small things you did that improved how you felt working remote?

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Bill Mitchell

Good question!

  • Try and start and end your day at the same time each day.
  • Have a dedicated work area if you can.
  • Make sure you force yourself to leave the house. Sometimes (especially in the winter) I'd find myself realising I hadn't left the house in a couple of days. Taking a walk at lunch or driving into town after work are good ways to take a break.
  • Try and update either your team or someone you work with a lot on what you got done for the day. Either in a daily standup or send out an email at the end of the day.
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Deepak Singh

What were the best about working as a remote developer and what's worst about it for you?

How do you handle working with distributed teams in different timezones?

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Bill Mitchell

Best thing was thing was being home as soon as work was done for the day. The team I worked with was ahead 8 hours so I'd start early and be done by early afternoon.

Working with a team in other timezones requires very good communication and planning. You're going to be communicating using written and spoken communication which both need to be excellent to help move projects forward.

Also starting my day very early since most of the team was 8+ hours ahead really helped. So I'd be working alongside them for at least half the day.

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George Roros

If you had to start over again as a junior level developer, what steps would you take to find your first full remote job?

Timeless DEV post...

Git Concepts I Wish I Knew Years Ago

The most used technology by developers is not Javascript.

It's not Python or HTML.

It hardly even gets mentioned in interviews or listed as a pre-requisite for jobs.

I'm talking about Git and version control of course.

One does not simply learn git